Classic Story: Fly Fishing in Iran, Part II

Written by: Naser Derakhshan

Mr. Ali Saedi holds a 21-pound trout caught on a 4X tippet on the Haraz River, near Tehran.
Photo by Naser Derakhshan

[Editor’s note: In 2014, an Iranian angler named Naser Derakhshan, who lives in Shahr-e Kord, sent us some photos of trout caught near his home. We posted the images to Facebook, and there was so much interest in the comments that I asked Naser if he would write us something about his fisheries. He initially balked at the idea, saying that his English wasn’t good enough (which isn’t true), but then he sent me the copy below, translated by a friend here in the U.S. This is a fascinating look at a fly-fishing culture that has received very little exposure.]

Bazoft River in spring.
Photo by Naser Derakhshan

Before I start, I would like to thank all the readers who read my last post for their interest. Although there is no documented history of fly fishing in the country, notes in foreigner’s diaries (mainly British) describe fly fishing in Iran as early as the mid 1800s. Also the antique fly rods and reels that have been obtained from local shops by collectors tell us that there were some fly fishers in Iran in the old days. But because of lack of knowledge and experts to teach the skills of fly fishing to others this method of fishing wasn’t very popular and known.

A beautiuful rainbow from the Zayandeh Rood River.
Photo by Naser Derakhshan

In the early 1970s, a self-taught fly fisher named Saeed Saher wrote the first Persian-language book on sport fishing, which had a in depth section on fly-casting techniques and fly-fishing tactics. This book started a wave of interest in fly fishing. To this day, Saher still ties flies and sells them on the internet and in shops. His website is quite popular. Because of the political reasons, you cannot buy from it, but you can see his work and some of his own patterns. As you all know, aside from the well known and standard patterns, each region requires its own patterns and Saher has developed some great patterns for Iran that we use in different parts of the country with great success. See below for two of these patterns with recipes, that you can try in the U.S.

The Zayandeh Rood River in fall.
Photo by Mr Ghaheri

In recent years, interest in fly fishing and fly tying has grown, and we have some good fly tiers and fly fishers in the country. This has created a good market for the equipment in Iran, but because of the struggling economy the good brand names in this field are very few, and mainly we are using Chinese equipment. Some great fish have been caught with this method, as the attached photos show.

Another gorgeous Zayandeh Rood River rainbow.
Photo via Facebook

Finally, I would like to wish all those who are interested in visiting Iran for fishing or just sightseeing to do so in the near future. (When the political situation allows it, of course.) Again, I would like to thank Orvis and all their readers for having interest in my country.

The author fights a trout.
Photo by Naser Derakhshan

Zayandeh Rood River is a great destination for Iranian rainbows.
Photo by Mr Ghaheri

          Master Streamer (Saeed Saher)
          Hook: 5X-long streamer hook, sizes 6-8.
          Thread: White, 6/0.
          Tag: Red silk.
          Body: Flat silver tubing.
          Wing: 4 light badger saddle hackle feathers.
          Head/collar: White deer hair, spun and trimmed.

          B-B (Saeed Saher)
          Hook: 5X-long streamer hook, sizes 8-10.
          Thread: Yellow or cream, 6/0.
          Weight: 5-8 turns of lead wire.
          Tail: Dyed-yellow bleached Guinea fowl body feather.
          Rib: Pearl flat Mylar.
          Back: Two or three strands of peacock herl.
          Body: Cream dubbing.
          Wing: Gray squirrel tail, dyed yellow.
          Head/collar: Yellow deer hair, spun and trimmed.

7 thoughts on “Classic Story: Fly Fishing in Iran, Part II”

  1. I’m impressed by the 21 lb trout Mr. Saedi is holding in the opening photo. Very nice! I also love the photos of the country. I always thought of Iran as mostly just a dessert.

    I do hope he will write more about the trout fishing in Iran. If we could get the leaders of the country’s of the world hooked on trout fishing they would have something to do besides fight each other!

  2. Mr. Saedi, that was a very good article accompanied by some gorgeous photos! I’m jealous of your fishing opportunities, maybe someday the political situation will change and allow us to fish there. Like Ken said above, I sure hope you do another article on your fishing in the future.

  3. Great article thanks for writing:sharing. I would love to visit Iran and would be great to get some digging in while I was there.

  4. I would love to read part 1 of this article. Iran will certainly one day be accessable for visiting fly fishers, the sooner the better.

  5. Incredible story. The level of honest beauty is breathtaking. A few photos and simple translation. Hooked on fly fishing Iran! Those haunted woods and back corner streams of the world. Amazing!

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